For the first time in a quite a while, we returned to Lodge Farm for a mornings ringing. Over the last few months large numbers of siskins and redpolls have been descending on the garden feeders, however the last ringing session on Friday was pretty quiet, by the Farm’s standards and so we were unsure how many would turn up today. Despite this a large team of us assembled, slightly bleary eyed at 6:30am this morning and opened the nets in anticipation.
Twenty minutes in, the first net round complete and the signs were that we were in for a busy morning. With such a large team of people it can get really hectic at the tables where we process the birds, but it remains paramount that data is recorded accurately. To prevent the evitable scrum for the pen, one person is dedicated to the role of scribe, the most important job in the team.
For the first few hours this morning I was scribe, collating and recording data on each bird from three or four ringers at a time. This information gathered during the ringing process not only provides an opportunity to study where birds move to and how long they live, through recoveries, but also an opportunity to learn about moult strategies i.e. how and when birds replace their feathers.
|Lesser redpoll waiting to be taken out of the net|
As the morning progressed, the birds kept coming and by we had caught and processed 336 individual birds, including 121 birds which we actually ringed. The remaining birds already had rings on and provide even more valuable information. Most of the birds were siskins and lesser redpolls, which provide interesting challenges to aging and in the case of the redpolls identification! Todays were all lesser redpolls, ranging from very pale, grey to rich brown birds.
So all in all a very good mornings ringing…..